Last updated, 17 March 2005
Where can I see The Chosen? What channel does it come on? Where can I buy the DVD box?
The unfortunate answer to all of these questions is "you can't". The Chosen is, alas, not a real television show. It's a "virtual" season, which means it's all pretend. Something similar to, but not quite the genuine article. We here at 4Paws Studios do our best to present The Chosen in a way that makes it as real as it can be – 22 episodes, each with a teaser and four acts – but we do it without the benefit of things that would make it really real. You know, pesky stuff like actors, a television studio, or rights. In other words, what you have here is basically really elaborate fanfiction. As much as we'd love to say otherwise, you can't watch The Chosen on any television in the known universe, nor will you find the DVD set at your local Best Buy. You'll have to rely on our words and your imaginations to fill the gap until Joss comes along and does it for us.
When is The Chosen set?
The story picks up as a new season of Buffy would, about three months after the final episode aired. The episodes themselves, therefore, are set somewhat in the past, because we started the series in April 2004; had we been synchronous, it would've started around late August 2003. From there, the episodes progress as normal in the Buffyverse, with hints and clues within the confines of the episodes themselves to help indicate when they're set and how much time has passed since the last one.
Where is The Chosen set?
Trillium, Pennsylvania. It's a fake town, don't go looking for it. Why Trillium? Well, we initially had the idea to set the series in Cleveland, since that was the logical pointer there at the end. And we originally started plotting out with Cleveland in mind, but then soon came to realize that it's darned hard to write about a city you've never been to nor really read about. And given that Jet Wolf is a paranoid perfectionist sort, she was paralyzed with fear of doing something utterly contradictory to the city. Thus, Trillium was born – it's a fake town, so we can do whatever the hell we want to. As for why Pennsylvania, well we needed a good reason why we weren't going to Cleveland, so we created the idea of the Tri-Mouth, a nexus of energies not from one Hellmouth, but three, all being funneled into this one area. Trillium lies at the exact center of a three Hellmouth triangle, funneling energies from Cleveland, Syracuse, and Washington DC. Really, when you think about it, isn't it logical to have Hellmouths there?
As for where Trillium would be located, were it real, it's around Williamsport, PA, and even has its very own Penn State branch. Because if there can be a UC Sunnydale ...
Which characters are involved?
For a complete, up-to-date list of which characters are significant, your best bet is to visit the character's page. It's much more likely to get updated before this document will. (Beware of the spoilers if you check out the details, though.) As of the FAQ's last update, our regulars are: Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Tara, Dawn, and Faith. Kennedy is now the Alpha Slayer for the European branch of the Council, but remains a presence for the group in Trillium and is a recurring character. Hannah (an all-new character) also makes regular appearances around Slayer Central, and both Andrew and Wood pop up from time-to-time. Dawn's current crush and her friends are also known to turn up frequently, as do outside friends for the other Scoobies and assorted Slayers and Watchers.
Who creates these so very fine episodes? What does each person do?
Our three-person staff consists of Jet Wolf, Ultrace, and Novareinna.
- Ultrace is a co-plotter, writer, and fight direction guru. If you see a fight scene in The Chosen, there's a 98% chance Ultrace wrote it. He has an almost infinite cache of Bruce Lee, Jean Claude Van Damme, and bad old kung fu movies to draw from. When not writing, Ultrace enjoys video games more than any human should, tall glasses of iced tea, and dealing with Jet Wolf in the more mundane wife-y sense.
- Novareinna is a co-plotter, chief editor, and typically prose mistress, meaning she takes Jet Wolf's scripts and makes them pretty. Her strengths include a staggering grasp of manipulating words to paint a character, scene or mood, and calling Jet Wolf five thousand times a day because JW loves to feel loved.
- Jet Wolf is the anal, controlling bitca who rules over Chosen-land with an iron fist because it is her baby and she is a Virgo so she is driven to do things in a very specific way. Co-plotter, writer, web mistress and someone who likes to pretend she can make pretty pictures in Photoshop, Jet Wolf has absolutely no life outside of The Chosen anymore. Seriously. It's kinda sad.
How long are you planning to run The Chosen?
As of now, we have plans to take the series all the way up to a season 10. We've got the plots and the significant events lined up through that point, and very much looking forward to creating the stories. Our biggest opponent will be burnout ... and the best weapon against burnout is feedback! (Okay, maybe not, but it does help.) After S10, however, we can't say. Three years of advanced plotting is about as far as our mind can stretch at the moment.
How many episodes will be in each season?
The plan is for 22, just like the real thing.
How long is each episode?
Each episode consists of a teaser and four acts. The teaser is about three or four pages on the average. Each act averages five scenes and eight to ten pages. The whole thing, when done, is 40 to 45 pages, and averages about 23,000 words.
How does The Chosen tie into Angel?
From S5 on out, very poorly. Obviously, if you've seen S5 of Angel, you can spot the many, many ways in which we're going against that continuity already. Our guys are NOT fragmented and spread out all over the world, nor do we plan for them to be. And as interesting as it might sound on paper, we're not going to concoct a hugely elaborate "Andrew lied" story to keep it in place. However Angel S1-S4 all ties into our continuity, as it did for Buffy. Simply that for the sake of our story, we must ignore Angel S5 altogether. So according to the Chosenverse, what happened to the Fang Gang after they defeated Jasmine and accepted Wolfram & Hart's most tempting offer? Well as of right now, nobody knows. Will we every find out? Good question. Good question, indeed.
How do the novels/comics/other non-show stuff fit into The Chosen?
They don't. If it wasn't shot and spliced into a TV episode, as far as we're concerned, it's not canon. We're firmly entrenched in the television show, and use that as our only basis for history, events, characters, hints and conclusions. Everything else is just published fanfiction, and we don't use it as source material.
Will you be doing an Angel continuation too?
Vast oceans of no. The Chosen takes far too much time as it is. However there are several other ambitious folks already tackling the void left by Angel's cancellation. You can even find a few of them on our link exchange group hug thing. May you find one that suits your Angelific needs.
Are there any other Buffy virtual seasons?
Many, and imagine our disappointment when we realized we weren't original. See the links page for some other fine folks who are trying their hand at furthering the story. We can't vouch for the quality of any of those listed, since we don't like to read and be influenced by other's work, but if you want to find them, they're definitely out there.
Can I join the staff?
At this time, we're not looking for anyone to join up. Although it's true that we could probably move a bit faster with more than just the three of us, we go back to Jet Wolf being that controlling sort of bitca again, and then comes the realization that she doesn't play well with others. But should the time come that we're looking for help, it will be announced on the main site. There are other ways you can help, however. While we'd write this for our own pleasure and enjoyment (and so Jet Wolf can convince herself that this teeny world she's creating is the real thing ... she's very delusional), there can be no denying that it's a huge thrill when others enjoy our work too. And the constructive feedback really does help. So feel free to link to us, send us e-mails, post your comments, stroke our egos. These are all good things.
How about wallpapers, fanart, icons, fanfiction, etc.?
Love it. Lovey love it. We'll take anything you've got, and happily make it available on the site. So everyone should do this, because I helps you be creative, gets you publicity on our site, and makes us feel funny ... down there. Just send it along to 4paws [at] btvschosen [dot] com.
What is the season/episode creation process?
A very involved question. Simply put, we begin with the plotting. We have a general idea for where we want the season to go and what the season's theme is, which is mixed in with that season's Big Bad. With that general framework we move to each character's emotional arc and start brainstorming ideas for individual episodes. Getting any more detailed on the initial planning stages is really difficult ... sometimes ideas come out of "Oo, this line is funny! Now let's make an episode around it" and other times it's a deep thematic purpose. It's a strange thing.
From there, we iron out the individual episode details and spread everything out over the 22 episodes we allot ourselves. It's a balancing act to make sure no character is neglected and their arcs are spread out over the course of the season.
Next comes breaking the episode. Figuring out what the scenes will be about, where they'll fall in the episode, and the all-important act break. Despite not actually having to worry about holding onto an audience at the end of an act, as there are no commercials, our goal is to keep things as close to a real Buffy episode as possible, and that most definitely includes structure.
Then it's really just a case of writing the episode. With a few notable exceptions, the typical process is for Jet Wolf to write each episode in script format, with input and suggestions from Ultrace and Novareinna. If there is a fight in the episode that requires something very specific, Jet Wolf and Ultrace work on the scripting and general story needs, with Ultrace working out all the details. Once the episode has been scripted, the prosing begins. This is either done entirely by Novareinna or Jet Wolf, or split between the two. JW takes the prosed version and makes any edits and changes necessary to ensure things are coming across the way she wants. Then the detailed editing process – looking for typos, duplicated words, etc. – which JW and Nova do together in what is typically a very exciting afternoon of saying, "What's another word for smirk?"
Why aren't your episodes in script format? Wouldn't it be faster?
Honestly, yes, it would be faster. So much. On a good day, if she's really on a roll, Jet Wolf can script an entire episode in three to four days. The prosing, now that's a total bitch. But the reason behind choosing to prose is very important, and not just because reading scripts is headache-inducing.
When you shoot an actual episode, you have the benefit of so many little details helping you along. Camera angles, editing and transitions, music, lighting, costumes, ACTORS. Every little thing goes into establishing where you are, what's going on, how everyone's feeling ... the script itself carries only the most factual, barebones, infinitesimal amount of that same weight and emotion. Given the nature of the series, we're going to have lots of charged emotional moments and it's extremely important to us that we present them with as much feeling as we can squeeze out. A script is simply an inferior tool for that sort of presentation.
I love [fill in the blank character]! Will s/he be back?
Can't say, won't say. The Buffyverse is rich with characters, both dead and simply out of touch, and it's entirely possible that any one of them could be back at any time. I guess to find out, you'll simply have to keep reading. Darn.
But Spike! What about Spike?
See above. There is something very important to bear in mind in regards to Spike, however: remember where we said Angel S5 didn't happen in the Chosenverse? Well that would include Spike's amulet-y return. We won't definitively draw a line and say we'll never see Spike again (nor are we saying we will), but that as far as our characters are concerned, he's pretty much a pile of dust under Sunnydale.
I hate [fill in the blank character]! Will you kill/maim/spindle/mutilate him/her?
While no character can possibly complete the Immunity Challenge and remain safe from the ravages of the story, we also will not zero in on a character to do terrible things to them just because we may not care for them as much as some others. If/when a character dies, it will be for the sake of the story, and not to serve our own petty emotions. So, in other words, no.
I love [fill in the blank] and [fill in the blank]! Will you make them do naughty touchy things? Preferably to each other?
Again with not saying for sure. The story will progress as the story progresses. However it is worth pointing out that while romantic relationships will have a place in The Chosen, as they always had a place in Buffy, they are not nor will they ever become the sole focus of the show. Honestly, isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place? There is more to Buffy, Willow, Xander, EVERYONE than who they're sleeping with this week. If we were interested in that sort of show, we'd be doing a Days of Our Lives virtual series or something. Also worth noting, we're committed to remaining within the spirit of Mutant Enemy and treating "episodes" as though they were to appear on TV. So no rated R stuff, and no squicky relationships that were very obviously never intended.
Who are your favourite characters in The Chosen? Which do you like writing the best?
Ultrace: Favourite characters: Xander, Willow, and Giles. But for writing, Giles and Faith.
Novareinna: Favourite characters: Giles, Xander and Faith.
Jet Wolf: Favourite characters: Willow, Willow, and Willow. Oh, and Xander, Tara, and Giles. For writing, JW doesn't really have a favourite, though she does have a preference for types of scenes, with any mixture of the Core Four probably topping the list.
Hey, where's my question?
We don't like you, so we're ignoring you. Or, probably more accurate, our brains fell out temporarily and we missed it. Send it on over and we'll see about getting you that answer you so desperately crave.